2008-03-04: Access Denied


Gene_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Summary: While Gene is relegated to a task beneath his genius, Niki takes a forward approach to finding out what's behind Pinehearst's closed doors. Rather, she tries. Niki and Gene Meet Again.

Date It Happened: March 4th, 2008

Access Denied

Labs - Pinehearst Research

Fort Lee, NJ

The key card reader is a sign of frustration to Gene. It symbolizes what he has become. He used to be the Golden Child, allowed to play with whatever toys he wanted. He helped ensure the wealth of an entire company and was given almost anything he wanted in the pursuit of science. The SWORD project and later the MAARS project were the sort of stuff that Gene worked on And now, he's installing electronics for laboratory testing in a large room near the CLASSIFIED section of the labs, but he is not allowed to go inside. He isn't even allowed to know who can go inside. Glorified blenders, shakers, and fancy microscopes are placed in their places and set up properly. This is not the work of Geek Gods, but peons of the field of electronics. But for the sake of others, he endures, opening boxes, placing the electronics out and setting them up silently.

Dressed in a light blue business shirt and some black slacks, he works with his beverage of choice for the afternoon resting on a counter… Pepto-Bismol. While others offered to help, he is having a bad day with his condition, finding it harder than usual to speak and the headaches giving him a short temper. But he refused to take a sick day, after all, he's supposed to be here for a reason and purpose drives humanity to all the places it goes. Even the grave.

The entryway to this lab is blocked, transiently, by the slender figure of Niki — who, since Gene met her last, has gotten something of a makeover. Hair pulled back into a tight knot at the back of her head, questionably genuine diamonds in her ears, and a smudge of darker makeup around her eyes, she checks to see who's around. Gene, for one. Finding the lab otherwise … sparse enough, she steps inside.

Save for her Pinehearst ID tag, the woman's wardrobe isn't exactly business wear for a biotechnology firm or, for that matter, working for a Senator: a long, asymmetrical slate blue shirt, sleeveless save for a strap slung over her right shoulder, and a pair of black pants — leggings, more like — disappear at the knee into slick black vinyl boots, rife with belts and buckles almost all the way down to their stiletto heels. It's a stark shift, from the "Schedule Coordinator" she was a few weeks ago, and as she saunters more or less toward the geek hard at work (?), it's clear that her mood has taken a darker bent, too.

Unaware of the changing situations around him, the young Geek continues his work silently. He's in his 'zone' merely working to adjust the power and focus of one of the powerful microscopes, using a random slide of a plant cell to test it. He pulls away to check the power levels, ensuring that the machine is finely tuned. This place has a firm expectation of excellence, which is not a problem at all to the young genius.

Sharp footfalls get closer and closer as the sauntering blonde approaches, but she whisks right past Gene's work area, heading instead for the Restricted Access door. Niki glances over her shoulder, watchful; her presence is not easily missed, but sneaking around would be even more obvious if she were to be caught. She stops just short of the door, waiting to see if anyone is looking her way.

As Niki moves past Gene, the young man lifts his head, following her as she moves. He doesn't say a word to her, figuring that if she is not wishing to talk to him, it's likely because she is busy, mad, or having one of those woman issues that Gene really doesn't get at all. He isn't surprised that she is cleared to enter the lab, figuring that if she is messing around with Nathan and the Senator is in cahoots with the top brass here… Then by proxy she should be able to go many more places that he cannot. He gives a short double take due to Niki being Niki, but the Geek seems to have a better control of himself because he swiftly turns back toward his work, still without another word.

Niki has access to be in this area, but the area beyond? The door that opens to only a select few? That's another story. Once Gene looks away, she cautiously turns her head, clutching onto the ID tag dangling around her neck and eyeing the door. She can't unlock it with her eyes, even though her gaze seems able to melt through metal, the way she stares at it. Only a few moments are wasted before she hurriedly — and with another cautious glance over her shoulder, this way and that — and tries swiping her ID through the keycard reader. ACCESS DENIED. It lets everyone in the immediate area know of her failure with a bzzzzzz!. Niki backpedals away from the door. She was never there!

"If you are trying to get in and you don't have the right access, please remember that this place is likely being recorded and swiping into readers registers your card when you do it But I'm sure you just got a ba-ba-" Gene stops his work, puts his hands on the table before he says the word a way like he was forcing it out from his throat. "..Bad card or something."

Gene doesn't even turn around to face the woman as he speaks to her, figuring that if she wants to talk, she will stick around. If not, well, he'll manage.

If Gene were looking at Niki, he'd see the fleetingly transparent expression on her face — the one that clearly seems to say, '…crap.' Times like these, she wishes she had Micah at her side. She promptly lets go of the card in her hand, letting it fall and swing on its lanyard. It's not a bad card, it's just not the right card. The right card would be somebody else's — someone with clearance. Niki doesn't fess up either way, though. She walks back the way she came, taking her quickly near Gene and the microscopes. She stops. "Are you okay?" It's not formed of loving warm concern, but it's concern all the same.

"The long answer is some-so-something I'm really not feeling to mood to go into, but the short answer is n-no." Turning toward Niki, Gene gives a weak smile with lacks any real mirth. A little too queasy to feel happy, the lad contend in his efforts, even they went far worse than he wished. "Glad to see that the police were able to get you and your f-f-fe-fellow captors without too much trouble. I take it the cops didn't get the culprits?"

Wow, he's… really not okay, is he? Niki's concern heightens, but the only indication is a faint pinching of her brows as she regards Gene more intently, which increases the more he talks, for other reasons. "Wait," she says, confusion evident. She almost sounds suspicious as she asks, "How do you know about that?"

"I heard you be-be-being taken," Gene begins, leaning his head down close to the top of the table as he opens up a panel on the microscope, trying to connect it what is likely a computer of some sort. Perhaps to allow the microscope's image to also be saved and recorded on the computer. It wasn't what he is supposed to be doing down here, but Gene's 'creative' urge convinces him that the work isn't that big a deal. After all, most people from MIT can do stuff like that. As he follows wires, he continues with the tale, "I tried to catch the guys re-responsible, but they had too much of a headstart. I got their number and tre-trea-tracked them down. Then I used my own personal recon planes in order to figure out the location. I wa-wanted to take the bad guys down myself, but considering one of your c-captor comrades had sonic powers and took down the my irreplaceable fleet… I figured it was best to let the police handle it in case you or your sonic friends misunderstood me."

There is a short pause as Gene tries to hook the right wires up. He's a little shaky in doing so, but manages to get it in, securing them together and closing up a panel. "It happens enough as it is."

All of this is news to Niki, of course. She watches the young genius at work, her shock clear. "…That was you." Those things in the sky that weren't helicopters. "You did all that." Awed, more than incredulous, though there's a hint of that, too. "I don't know what to say," she shakes her head and takes a second to glance around the lab. When she's sure no one's around to listen, she says, "I— Gene, you saved us."

For a short time, Gene doesn't say anything, perhaps considering the words. Maybe he too was caught off guard but the heartfelt reaction. "And here I thought Charlotte would have told you about it all already. She was happy about it too," Gene offers quietly as he moves to a laptop bag, pulling out a cord that looks like it is supposed to connect a computer and a printer before messing with the cord so it can work with the microscope. And here he thought she was just dismissing all of his work.

"Maybe I did save you, maybe I didn't. After all, you got out on your own. You had powers. It is entirely possible you could have gotten to safety without my help. I am just glad we didn't have to find out. Supposedly, that was supposed to help me find my destiny, but it just cost me a trio of drone planes for one name. Hopefully, the name will bear fruit. Wanted to give some time before I started to hunt, but I think I've figured out my plan."

"I haven't seen a lot of Charlotte lately." There's something less-than-casual in Niki's words, something almost cold. "We'd fended most of them off by the time the police came, but who knows what might've happened? We were in the middle of the damn desert, for crying out loud. I think they were the same people who kidnapped Nathan and I before we came to Pinehearst. Are you going to go after them?" The blonde looks at Gene intently, questioning.

There is a pause at Niki's cold reply. Gene puts that thought on hold for the time being. "I was th-thin-thinking about it. Something needs to be done or else it will merely happen again. I was unaware that you were kidnapped before you came to Pinehearst. Nathan too?"

"They took us," Niki confirms, bitter on that point, "Brought us to some lab, drugged us, tied us up. This doctor, he said— he said we were there because we were 'special'." Anger flares up behind her eyes, her features gaining an edge; she's adamant, for someone who was supposed to have memory loss. "They were gonna do things that— " Another tense shake of her head. "It wasn't right. Some people from Pinehearst got us out. Charlotte and…" Niki glances away, her gaze becoming hazy as she remembers a few small details about their other saviour. Huh.

Like a true man of details, Gene files away what he does know, but focuses his attention on that isn't. As he asks the simple one word question, he pulls out some bright blue electrical tape and begins to work on wrapping cords together. "And?"

The perfectly simple question seems to throw Niki, but it jars her back to her impromptu story. "And— nothing. They took us back here and that was it." She shrugs bare shoulders. "Well, Nathan kind of blew up…" Small detail, easily missed, right? To be fair, she passed out afterward. "I guess they put something inside him, I don't know, really."

"You don't know anything about these other people? After all, if they were Evol-e-e-Evolved and skilled with their powers, why didn't they try and take this doctor down. I mean, who KNOWS what he's been doing since you got saved by him. I take it this hap-pp-ppened weeks ago, if not months…" Gene shakes his head, more to another wave of nausea to the disconcerting thought of a frustrated mad scientist left to his own devices.

"It was two months ago," Niki says, a defensive tone already sneaking up into her voice. "There wasn't time, they had to get us out. Look, I don't know. I just know that these people have to be shut down. Maybe Charlotte knows where to find the doctor."

The Geek God is still not looking toward Niki, though it seems to have the 'connector cord' between the two machines all nice and ready and is putting it in as Niki speaks. Finding it easier to avoid eye contact (more so when she starts to get defensive), he replies facing the machine, "S-simmer down, I'm just trying to get information, not start a fight. Geeze. And I figured I'd talk with Charlotte about finding some people. But it seems like it might not be a gre-er-reat idea."

"And why is that." Niki folds her arms stand-offishly. She has to be careful what she says — to Gene, to anyone in Pinehearst, to anyone at all, these days. Who knows what might get back to Logan. She can't be too nice, even to a well-meaning geek who isn't looking so hot.

"Well, you seemed to be all friendly to Charlotte and now you're not. I figure it's personal, but if there's a reason then I'm concerned, that's all. Going from grateful to paranoid in less than five minutes. You almost beat my record," the young genius points out with a slight smirk. While working, he looks to the left and then the right to make sure there is no one around. Good, still clear. Time to take a little risk.

"Though if you want in that lab, I might be able to help you out. After all, if you think you need to be in there, I've worked on a lot of systems involving security and stuff. And those I don't know… I learn fast. Up to you."

Black-lined blue eyes narrow on Gene, and Niki guardedly considers what he says. She doesn't know him, really. Not really at all. But he launched a rescue, or at least something very near one, after she got snatched in Vegas. He helped her get those files without asking many questions. Okay, there were some other run-ins that weren't so stellar, but… all that other stuff's gotta add up to something good. "I think there's some mistake," she says very pointedly, glancing over her shoulder at the door. "I should be able to get in." No, she really shouldn't. Niki plants a hand on the counterspace beside the fancy microscope and leans ahead toward Gene, trying to catch his elusive gaze. Her voice lower, becomes all the more serious. Dire. "Do it. Anyone traces it back to you, tell them I forced you. I'll deal with whatever happens."

The young genius blinks as he looks toward the door before he looks back toward the suddenly very intense Niki. The kinda intensity that is really kinda scary and not at all hot. "You mean… right now? I don't even have all my equipment," he offers in mix between a whisper and a whimper.

The answer is simple, as far as Niki is concerned at this second. Who knows how much time is of the essence? Too much waiting, and for what? This. Information, maybe behind those doors. Maybe she'll bad for intimidating poor Gene later, but right now? The blonde does not budge, save to lean in ever-so-slightly closer. "Then get it."

"This is going to end poorly. When people rush, it always ends poorly. But I'll do what I can to minimize your errors due to z-zeal." Giving his last shutter for the night, Gene gets up. Surprisingly enough, he isn't scared though he is faintly annoyed at being pushed around. Sighing, he moves toward his office, in order to get his equipment. He also gets his rechargeable battery pack that oddly enough has two holes drilled in one side, but that isn't important at all. No siree. Unless stopped, Gene merely kneels down in front of the door, preparing to do his work.

Niki falls into being a silent type, watching Gene move from place to place. When he kneels down, she moves to the entrance to the room they currently occupy, glances up and down the hall, and shuts the door. As she turns back around to Gene, she questions, "Aren't there security cameras?"

"Yeah, but you're taking the fall and you wanted this now. Of course, we could do this another day when we actually have a plan and work this all out. I made a plan when I saved you. I don't have a plan for this little mission," Gene admits as he glances back toward Niki. Normally, he would be happy that the shuttering has stopped, but sadly, he's got bigger concerns as he just starts putting parts down. "Final time, you sure you want me to try this tonight?"

Niki's eyes shift from Gene and the restricted lab — a door through which anyone could come waltzing at any second from the other side — and back to the hall. "Get up," she says, commandeering this mission to back up, it would seem. She strolls toward Gene her high-heeled boots coming to a stop just beside him; she offers her hand to help him up. "Meet me here tomorrow. Eight o'clock. Breathe a world of this to anyone and you'll regret it."

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